Putting people first

Woman and childen in India
We want to play our part in creating a better life for the people and communities touched by our business. From our co-workers, suppliers, to children and families living in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities – we always strive to promote equality, diversity and respect for human rights in everything we do. Download the 2015 IKEA Group Sustainability Report PDF
Human rights
Nobody’s equal till everybody’s equal
Human Rights are for everyone, everyday. So our vision of “creating a better everyday life for the many people” embraces co-workers, customers, suppliers and their local communities. And not just when we’re in the spotlight either, it’s a 365 day a year commitment. Our co-workers can expect fair treatment and equal opportunities, whatever their ethnicity, religion, gender, physical ability, sexual orientation or age. Because a level playing field brings out the best in all of us, men and women alike. And it has to be level everyday, not just when it’s convenient.
Respect for human rights, based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, is part of everything we do and is included in our supplier code of conduct, called the IWAY Standard.
Download the IWAY Standard (PDF)
Three IKEA co-workers in a room setting consisting of two orange desks with chairs, a white chest of drawers and open wall shelves.
Supporting the ethical recruitment of migrant workers
There are over 200 million international migrants across the world, with over 100 million of them working. Some leave home and succeed in finding better work and improving their quality of life. But for others, the promise of a better future can result in large debts from recruitment fees and – in the worst cases – bonded labour. At IKEA we set clear standards for the recruitment and employment of workers through IWAY, our code of conduct. Under no circumstances do we tolerate forced labour or human trafficking. We also expect our suppliers to treat migrant workers fairly and to offer transparent employment terms and good working and living conditions.
Supporting the ethical recruitment of migrant workers
Working together to drive change
In some countries recruitment practices are complex and involve many different organisations, so it’s important also to work with others.IKEA has joined forces with four other companies – HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprises, The Coca-Cola Company and Unilever – to drive positive change in the way that migrant workers are recruited. The Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment will advocate for the ‘Employer Pays Principle’, which calls for all recruitment fees to be paid by the employer, not the worker.
To support our suppliers in dealing with the challenges of responsible recruitment, we are also partnering directly with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In South East Asia we have already worked together to successfully map the recruitment process from suppliers back to the workers’ home countries. We will use the findings to further support the ethical recruitment of migrant workers and to work towards creating lasting change.
Learn more about the International Organization for Migration
An Indian girl in school
We believe in protecting children
We do everything we can to act in the best interests of children and protect children’s rights. We do this through advocacy, raising awareness and supporting children in vulnerable communities.
Our commitment to children runs deep
When it comes to our products and stores, we try to think from a child’s perspective. We want our products to aid their development and for our stores to become play areas, just as if they were at home. We work with experts on children’s development, to learn and understand their needs during different stages of development.
A clear ban on child labour
We believe that children have the right to be protected from exploitation, abuse and neglect. This is why child labour is unacceptable to IKEA and why we work actively to prevent and eliminate it. Our child labour code of conduct, introduced in 2000, was developed in close co-operation with Save the Children and with advice from the International Labor Organization (ILO) and UNICEF.
Creating long-term solutions
Preventing and eliminating child labour is a big challenge, which can only be tackled by addressing the root causes with a holistic approach. That’s why the IKEA Foundation supports UNICEF and Save the Children child rights programs in 25,000 villages in a number of states in India and Pakistan; reaching a total of 15 million children by the end of 2017. Visit the IKEA Foundation website for more information
Building good relationships
We want everyone to feel good about the products we sell, which is why we put a lot of work into our supplier relationships – and those relationships that reach beyond ours. There are about 600,000 people working for companies that directly supply IKEA around the world, and we want to be sure they are all treated fairly.
That’s why in 2000 we launched IWAY, our supplier code of conduct. Our suppliers are responsible for communicating IWAY to their sub-suppliers and we are supporting them to do this. All home furnishing suppliers must comply with IWAY requirements, otherwise they are phased out.
What is the IWAY Standard?
Our supplier code of conduct, the IWAY Standard, plays an important role in positive developments. It specifies our minimum requirements relating to the environment, social impact and working conditions.
We visit our suppliers regularly to check that they are following the IWAY Standard. Around 80 IKEA auditors, as well as independent third party auditors make both announced and unannounced checks at suppliers and their sub-suppliers.
IWAY Standards are clearly posted on a supplier factory wall
The IWAY Standard requirements include:
- No child labour
- No forced or bonded labour
- No discrimination
- Freedom of association
- At least minimum wages and overtime compensation
- A safe and healthy work environment, preventing pollution to air, ground and water and work to reduce energy consumption. Download the IWAY Standard PDF
Not just your ordinary rug
The TÅNUM rag rug is a great example of how we can bring together two of our core passions – reducing waste and creating a better everyday life. TÅNUM is made from leftover materials from the production of our fabric and quilt covers, and thereby no two rugs are alike. It’s also the kind of staple piece that has been around in Swedish homes for about 150 years.
The idea for the design came from young Finnish design student, Erik Bertell, who wanted to reinvent the rug in a more modern way. But, some great ideas don’t just stop there; they go a step further. Not only is the production of TÅNUM responsibly turning waste into a resource; skilled craftswomen in Bangladesh weave them. This provides the women with jobs, and a stable income. Watch the video for the full story about TÅNUM rug.
Behind the scenes: Handmade rugs [PDF]
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Community-led education about growing Better Cotton
Working with WWF to improve cotton farmers’ lives
IKEA and WWF have worked successfully together on cotton farming issues for over a decade. As a result, an estimated 110,000 farmers in India, Pakistan, China and Turkey have started growing cotton in a more sustainable way. By using less chemical fertilizers and more natural alternatives to chemical pesticides, small-hold farmers can cut their costs while crops remain as good as before. The money they save might be used to invest in water-saving drip irrigation or perhaps in education for their children.

Learn more about our partnership on cotton (PDF)
IKEA View: Cotton (PDF)
Helping young Australians choose positive pathways
The IKEA vision is to create a better everyday life for the many but this vision goes beyond home furnishing, we want to create a better every day for all people impacted by our business.

IKEA Marsden Park, which opened in April 2015 and employs more than 300 co-workers, is committed to this same vision and adding value to the local community in a range of positive ways.

With a strong focus on career and learning possibilities within IKEA, co-workers are actively encouraged to experience different roles within the business and many change between functions and countries several times in their careers.

Career roles within IKEA include Customer Relations, IT, Marketing, Human Resources, Restaurant (IKEA FOOD), Purchasing, Finance and Business, Logistics, Sales, Design and Product Development, Communication and Interior Design and Sustainability.

The opening of the new IKEA store in the Sydney Business Park at Marsden Park, created an opportunity to enter into a partnership with The Beacon Foundation as a way for IKEA Marsden Park to engage with the young people in their local community.

Store Manager, IKEA Marsden Park said the business is highly committed both to the local community and in making a positive impact on young people locally.

“We are here for the long-term, and plan to be good neighbours and partners in the community. We aim to employ local people for local jobs, so partnering with local schools to support with skills development and education is the right thing to do.

“It provides young people in our local community with the opportunity to acquire the required skills and knowledge before entering the workforce within a supportive environment.”

“We value the opportunity to support young people in learning new skills to help them confidently transition from school into the workforce.

“The Beacon Foundation provides us with a thorough understanding of the challenges in the local area for disadvantaged youth and introduces us to local schools, allowing us to establish ongoing relationships”.

IKEA co-workers volunteering
Community volunteer support
At IKEA we strive to be a good neighbour by helping create a better everyday life for the people and communities where we operate.

We believe we have some of the most committed, talented and creative people working for us. Every one of our permanent co-workers has access to one day of volunteer leave to work in the local community each year.

Do you have an opportunity for a team of IKEA co-workers in your charity or local community group?
IKEA Community Volunteer requirements
• We are looking for non-profit organisations local to our stores in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane whose primary focus is either the support and development of children, providing housing and shelter for people in need, or responding to Australian environmental issues such as floods, bushfires and cyclones.
• We require that you hold current Public Liability insurance.
• That the activity is safe and supervised for the full duration by a representative from your organisation.
• That the activity is held onsite at your location which is local/close to our stores to allow ease of access for our co-workers.
• Does not involve unsupervised contact with children, or require any ‘working with children’ certification.
• We cannot guarantee the minimum number of co-workers requested, as volunteering is not mandatory. We require at least one months notice before the activity.
IKEA co-workers volunteering
If you have a volunteer activity simply complete a Volunteer Support Request and email to
Before submitting a request please note we are unable to support:
• For-profit organisations
• Direct fundraising (tin shaking/ribbon sales)
• Sports teams, leagues or sponsoring sporting, art or entertainment events
• Individual requests that benefit one person
• Organisations that are not open to all members of the community
• Organisations with a political or religious affiliation
IKEA Volunteer
Social Entrepreneurs
Empowering women empowers us all
At IKEA we are committed to working for an inclusive and gender equal society. It’s an ambition that we share with many, and one that requires action to transform into results.
Social entrepreneurs is a collaboration between IKEA and business-minded women in rural areas, local artisans with previously little or no access to paid, sustainable income. Forming long-term partnerships with social entrepreneurs gives women and discriminated minority groups a chance at independence and a better future.
By offering the chance to earn an income, new opportunities opens up and brings an economy that will help generate new energy for the initiative as a whole.
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Handicraft that changes lives
Through co-creating handicraft collections with social entrepreneurs we provide livelihoods for women and minority groups in poor, rural areas. It’s also an opportunity for us to work with skilled artisans and offer our customers unique, handcrafted products available in selected IKEA stores.
Building partnerships with social entrepreneurs
Social entrepreneurs is a force that can be uncovered anywhere. Click play on the movies to hear two stories of how IKEA partners up with entrepreneurs on the local level to create sustainable livelihoods for artisans.
Behind the scenes: Social Entrepreneurs PDFIKEA FACTS: Social Entrepreneurs Entreprises PDF
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These women inspire us. Hear the story of one social entrepreneur and one artisan in India.
Improving opportunities for children
No matter what the circumstances, every child deserves a placeto call home, a healthy start in life, a quality education and a sustainable family income. The IKEA Foundation supports programmes run by well-regarded organisations – like UNICEF and the Clinton Health Access Initiative – to help children and youth living in the world’s poorest communities so they can create a better future for themselves and their families. The Foundation’s currently funded programmes will benefit 100 million children by the end of 2015.
Visit the IKEA Foundation website for more info
Two children at a refugee camp
The IKEA Foundation donates tens of millions of euros to charity each year through funds set aside from IKEA profits.
4 ways the IKEA foundation helps children
A young girl in school
Empowering women and girls
By empowering women – through education, skills training, improved healthcare, or providing a loan to set up a small business – we can improve children’s health, education and future opportunities. opportunities. The IKEA Foundation funds programmes to empower and educate women, giving them a better chance to provide for themselves and their families. Visit the IKEA Foundation website to learn more about their empowerment programmes
A young boy at a refugee camp
A better life for refugee children
Every year millions of children are forced to flee their homes because of natural disasters and conflicts. The IKEA Foundation is supporting the UN’s Refugee Agency with €76 million to provide shelter, care and education to refugee families in Ethiopia, Sudan and Bangladesh. Visit the IKEA Foundation website to find out how they are building safe places for refugee families to call home
Young children that are not in school are the most vulnerable
Preventing child labour
Since 2000, we have donated €80 million to UNICEF and Save the Children to fight the root causes of child labour in India and Pakistan. Our programmes have already helped 12 million children have access to better schools and better protection from having to work, and we're extending them to reach many millions more. Visit the IKEA Foundation website for more information on how they are working towards preventing child labour
Young child sitting on his mother's lap while a female doctor listens to his heart
Emergency response
All children should have the right to learn and play. But when natural disasters and conflicts turn their lives upside down, they lose the chance to simply be a child. That’s why the IKEA Foundation provides financial support and donates IKEA products for emergency relief efforts to humanitarian partners like Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), UNICEF, Save the Children and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Visit the IKEA Foundation website to learn more about the emergency response programmes
Customers and co-workers helping together
Each year IKEA co-workers and customers join together in two campaigns to help create a better everyday life for the less fortunate. The campaigns raise money for the charities UNICEF, Save the Children and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. The money goes to good causes like improving children’s education and providing lighting in refugee camps. The campaigns also create awareness of the problems and the good work being done to solve them.
A group of boys playing football on a dusty patch of land as the sun sets.
Together we make a difference to people’s lives.
Let's play for change logotype
Let’s Play for Change Good Cause campaign – Thank You!
Around Asia and Africa, thousands of children are playing their way to a better life, thanks to IKEA co-workers and customers who got involved in the first Let’s Play for Change campaign.During the campaign period, IKEA co-workers and customers engaged in the cause, and an amazing 12.6 million IKEA children’s products were sold. 193,996 children’s products were sold in the IKEA Australia stores, with $310,394 going towards IKEA Foundation.
Let's play for change logotype
As a result of the collaboration on the Good Cause campaign, the IKEA Foundation has donated €21.5 million* to six partner organisations who will help thousands of vulnerable children enjoy their right to play. From hosting playful pillow fight competitions in IKEA Shanghai, to running soft toy dress-up contests in IKEA Springvale, to having story time for children in IKEA Burbank, hundreds of IKEA co-workers from stores across the globe were instrumental in sharing the message with millions of customers who passed through their stores.
The IWitness Global Citizens programme
This programme gives IKEA co-workers a chance to see first-hand how the money raised through IKEA good cause campaigns contributes to a better life for children in the world’s poorest communities. Co-workers visit various projects run by IKEA Foundation partners, and share their experiences on IKEA Foundations’ Global Citizens blog.
How we support refugees
From 2013-2015, IKEA Group and the IKEA Foundation ran the Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign to help refugee families look forward to a brighter future. Thanks to the campaign, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is bringing light and renewable energy to hundreds of thousands of people in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Watch a film about how electricity is brightening life for Syrian refugees
The IKEA Foundation also supports long-term programmes for refugees, including projects that improve education and livelihoods in refugee camps and surrounding communities.
IKEA Group is also active in supporting local organisations with essential items needed to provide better conditions for newly arrived refugees. Many IKEA co-workers are volunteering their time and assisting refugees to re-establish their lives in new communities. And in some countries, we have started longer term programmes, such as internships, to help refugees integrate into the workforce.
Find out more about the IKEA Foundation’s support for refugees
At IKEA we strive to help refugee families and children to a brighter future. The IKEA Foundation supports projects that improve education and livelihoods and the IKEA Group supports local organisations with essential items for better conditions.
Small actions add up
See how water-saving taps and energy-saving induction hobs can help you save money at home. Go to Sustainable Life at Home
IKEA water saving taps reduce water usage by up to 50%
Installing solar panels on an IKEA store
Creating positive change
Learn how we’re sourcing materials in a responsible way and becoming energy independent. Go to Energy & Resources